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Rivkin last won the day on March 10

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    Kirill R.

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  1. Brutally shortened. Otherwise looks like late Muromachi Mino.
  2. Many options. I like this piece. Armor made from swords.
  3. I don't want to comment much on Sadamune-Hiromitsu since it will just be borrowing from Dmitry's rather long book section... and I don't understand the issue thoroughly. On the time per blade, an observed and commented on NBTHK session in the US was not greatly different from how such are done in Japan, which in turn was not that different from NHTK sessions, which one can observe... There are obviously people FAR more experienced with them, but here is my take. The pace is professional and unless its signed and dated Norishige they don't pause and awe even for the blades which would cause me to salivate... I saw Rai and Shizu blades handled in about 3-5 minutes and ugly like hell average pieces given the same time. Opinions were stated from senior to junior members, which is contrary to my experience of how typical Japanese government panel functions, but I guess senior-to-junior order is much more expedient. The senior person does thorough look up of the blade with one or few fixed lights, then others pick it up, they state couple of opinions. No real discussion. Three phrases from the senior, one-two from the junior members. 3 minutes, maybe 5 in total. I saw them getting stuck a few times when the signature was iffy and they went for the books and there was a long argument. One of the blades was upper grade shinto guy, but another just average Muromachi piece, they were just concerned that the details in this long signature were highly atypical and argued about it. I think there is general feeling that gimeing the right signature or passing gimei is something much more likely to come back and hurt them. A spread in opinions on mumei pieces is expected to be large. In regards to signature appraising changing from TH to Juyo - one of the big reasons we will not see an open database-check-you-certificate ever, because if such is done someone will do the statistics on attributions like Takada, Uda and will find out the percentage of those shifts a lot with time. Many will dismiss it in a sense you are not suppose to own mumei Takada (that is if you are a cool collector), but there are similar trends with other attributions, signatures included. Sayagaki was refused to Juyo blade - on account of it being "well known gimei" from the prospective of the sayagaki-shi. If one ever invites Nobuo Nakahara o-sensei (I should be hated in Japan, perfect nobody dissing both him and Ogawa Morihiro), he will discover all his Juyo are gimei, and it can be scientifically proven on the basis of nioi-guchi alone.
  4. I don't see it as an exclusive mark of lesser schools. It is an accurate statement, if one has in mind something like lesser Muromachi pieces, which often tend to be the same and are objectively difficult to distinguish by school. Well, so is Soshu 1370-1390. Plenty of Sue Sa, Shizu, late Naotsuna which are almost the same and the attribution will always float. Dmitry has a signed Sadamune daito in his book judged to Hiromitsu. Its exceptionally unusual to judge signed blade with an old signature to the same school, same period, but another name. Did not want to set the precedent of signed Sadamune? Sadamune daito always being difficult to judge? Maybe. I always disagreed with most of what Darcy wrote on kantei. "Den ..." is usually a minor hedge applied by default, but with a major early Soshu name the intent is different. Den Masamune tends to be a Nambokucho blade, or some other big issue, irrespective of setsumei. There is a reason in a list of swords you would see simply "O-Kanemitsu" but if its the first rank Soshu, they will add specifically "kiwame Sadamune", i.e. underlining its not "Den". Even if its "kiwame Hasebe", i.e. there are still two options . "To ga aru" - by default assumes its gimei but the signature was added pre-Edo. etc. etc.
  5. Yes, and a lot of it is checking there are no fatal flaws. Most kantei is obvious. Its usually wrong to expect them to spend hours looking at all angles to catch a glimpse of the one sparkle still seen in unpolished blade. Unpolished blades are always judged conservatively. Both NBTHK and NTHK usually do take after-questions, the answer will typically be one line pointing out to one-two kantei feature. "Kasane is too thick", "Jigane is zanguri". The important part for some in Japan - you can sit down with a shinsa member beforhand. Or submit through someone whose name by itself turn heads. What surprised me a bit seeing shinsa as an old fashioned institution... There is a Confucian concept for a panel the voting starts with younger members or in a discussion the senior members are not supposed to express their opinion until many of the younger ones do. You do see it done here and there in Japan, but shinsa does not seem to work in this fashion; one, less often two, people can be the decisive voice.
  6. Every appraiser in every time suffers from the same great temptation which has nothing to do with his knowledge. He has a blade which can be treated optimistically and given a great name or treated pessimistically and given an average school. It can be Etchu Tametsugu or plain Uda. Go or Naokatsu. If he gives it a good name, the submitter will say "finally I found a smart person who understands how great my best blade is". And he will bring back his business many times over. The problem is he will also drag his blade to every damn club, boasting how he found this unpapered blade and knew its something special, blah, blah, blah. And a lot of people will say "John's papers? He must be taking bribes to call it Go. Its just not at the level". So if you like the money you judge optimistically. If you are afraid of your friends shaking heads and pointing fingers you judge conservatively. In theory there could have been people who ignore everything except what they see in the blade, but they don't exist. One has to remember - in a modern society most people simply don't have any opportunities to develop qualities like valor. This is not something you just get from birth. Conditions of the most people are too stable, predictable and can be improved solely by satisfying slightly superior members of the same occupation etc..
  7. Kantei is an interesting thing. I would argue its pretty easy if what you try is to get a general perceptions of the blade - quality level, period, general school. To go beyond is both very difficult and usually very uncertain. In books it sounds like you can easily distinguish sue Bizen Kiyomitsu from Tamamitsu from something-mitsu, it very seldom pins down in practice. Also when one invites a high level person to judge a collection, unless its filled with signed shinto pieces, you almost never get an exact opinion. They will stick to period-general school-maybe couple of names format. To put it bluntly - here is a basic waki. There are two important pieces missing - boshi and nakago, which one always has to include when asking for the opinion. But even as is - its mino-ish. It can be Echizen Seki. It can be Mino Seki. It can be Jumyo. Does it change anything? No. Its the same group of schools. The differences are minute and in most cases unimportant. It could even be in reality someone in a completely different province imitating the style. Does not matter and will not be traced back to this one lad.
  8. Plot deepens while the mania for finding exotic non-Japanese origins for Namban tsubas is progressing. Happy to see Tibetian being added to the list. Java, Vietnam and Russia obviously was not enough.
  9. My opinion is simple and arrogant: Unfortunately almost everything concerning namban tsubas being "really" reworked european or reworked chinese or vietnamese is more bizarre than its not. The curvature is wrong (too flat), the mimi is wrong, the manner of carving is wrong, unless in almost all cases we are talking about Japanese imitation or something inspired by outside influences. And I thought the square ones are "supposed" to represent altered smallsword-European items, Chinese ones tend to be rectangular, sometimes large enough to be actually filled in with copper rather than expanded? I've seen couple of Hizen tsubas which indeed looked very Chinese and probably were reworked Chinese examples... Kofun and earlier Nara will be rectangular, whether continental (very rare) or Japanese, but I guess its not about those?
  10. NBTHK papers are generally extremely non-informative and more so when it comes to Muromachi pieces. The signature is genuine and that's about it. Not pretending (or pretending to be) an expert, I've seen his works. The first generation can be quite good. When you see all the masame it can be though he was Yamato, but I've seen works which were actually strongly Aoe influenced. The key is that he did dan utsuri at times - black midare utsuri followed by nie utsuri followed by bo utsuri. Just like Aoe, the nie utsuri section can have ware since its one long pack of masame. His jigane tends to be much rougher than Aoe though, and hamon lacks the bright refinement of Aoe. Nevertheless the work is quite decent. I don't know based on these photographs which generation it is. There is a lot more masame compared to the first generation, which was a bit more itame heavy, so I thin its indeed second or third generation. Then ofcoarse even early Muromachi Bungo has full Yamato, full Yamashiro (suguha+shirake utsuri+itame), full Aoe (Yamashiro-like but more dan utsuri config) and full Bizen (choji, possibly utsuri) options. Its really difficult to judge. This seems more Yamato-based style though utsuri work is nice.
  11. Rivkin

    Tachi Bringback

    To me it looks like the beginning of Muromachi (-1500) and either Tegai which brings forward but a few or just one "typical" name, or Naminohira.
  12. Most likely - yes, don't know about specifically Meio. I can see shirakke utsuri in this case its basically about 1cm wide, vague white band a bit above the habuchi. In most sue-mihara one hopes for a more active jigane, with mokume and such, here its not the case, and its not an exception in any case. It can be Bizen, the style is not overly distinctive.
  13. The criteria for NBTHK Muramasa changed drastically between 1980 and 2000, in the direction of being very conservative. With such pictures being more precise is difficult and daito Muramasa can be difficult to kantei with certainty. This being said, I looked at the link - its in pure nioi. Its certainly will not paper as Muramasa today. Its a late Muromachi work which can be frankly anyone - Odawara, Mino and even Bizen sometimes churning up pieces with such hamon and itame hada is well done but not distinctive. Personal opinion.
  14. Rivkin


    .... Seems like a reference book entry on Nanki Shigekuni. .... Thanks to all participants, I think personally doing kantei on shinto blades is hard. My motivation was in the "arguments of the poor" territory - having a few shinto names with very different price tag, but whose best works can all be enjoyable. I really like Hizen Masahiro both shodai and nidai, and I like Sukehiro whose works are more often than not beyond my purchase comfort level. "10 best names" runs a bit contrary to my feeling that there are very good works from lesser names which one can acquire. I remember Juyo Fusamune that Tsuruta was selling which was more Sadamune-like than 90% of Takagi Sadamune I've seen - yet few would be interested in any early Muromachi creation except for relatively novel passion for Bizen ..mitsu. ... Back to the blade, I might be wrong but one thing I noticed about all Kii blades I've seen is that by far most have two mekugi ana. Even in signature reference books both generations of Nanki often have two holes. Even more surprising the Kii feature, large one (here they are more normal in size) if present tends to be the upper one. As with other provincial work I guess there might have been a considerable influence due to particular instructors and thus at one or another point majority of retainer's blades would be mounted differently. For example, kantei feature - large mekugi ana was used in Kii only for couple of decades and then it stopped. Well, all of this I did not get from kantei books so I don't know how accurate it is. From reference books, Shigekuni lineage is notoriously difficult to kantei. The works in Yamato style are distinctive since no one did it at the time, but some are very much similar to Tegai koto. Then he shifted towards Yamato Shikkake with gunome-midare and long sunagashi, but those tend to be distinctive from koto, too periodic to be Shizu, too Soshu to be Shikkake. The Soshu period is one sees least often and is by far the most desirable. Its also openly admitted in recent NBTHK kantei section that of all shinto cut down Soshu works of Shigekuni and Dewa Daijo Fujiwara Kunimichi presents difficulty and can pass as koto; among the issues is that boshi is active, in Shigekuni its Yamato-style hakkikake, and jigane is not typical period's itame of Osaka or Hizen. Shigekuni jigane varies greatly - with masame, mokume, etc., and even itame examples tend to be considerably more "varied" within the blade compared to Osaka Sukehiro or most other shinto smiths. There is the latest period, when the work tends towards shinto and very early on there is influence due to maybe Kanesada and later even Sukehiro. Here the shinto element is really apparent in the outline of the hamon. These blades are admittedly less desirable compared to pure Soshu ones. Most are daisaku or second generation. They are still very high quality especially in handling of nie, but a bit less distinctive. Keicho period sugata is very rare for the first generation Shigekuni, speaking practically on the basis of what one sees for sale (you find it more often in books), and full Kambun is very rare for the second generation, so most works tend to be Kanei and Joji-like in sugata. You can see taper but its not straight. In light of this, I think people were very accurately pointing out the period, unfortunately the things that are school-specific would be too subtle for me if I did not know the answer - but they are textbook features nevertheless.
  15. Correcting myself a bit - one of those cases when the work does look Yokoyama Bizen and a good one at least to me at least from little seen, but can't say anything about the signature, don't know them that well.
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